News from Vermont #252 -- Sleep, Sleep, Sleep

December 16th, 2011

Hello again Maple People,

If you're one of those hardcore curmudgeons who says "Don't sleep your life away" I say "Get a life!". And if you don't think sleeping is part of life, well, you're wrong...last night in my sleep, I trekked through the woods with my long-deceased father and saw the Alps from 30,000 feet up in a jet plane. Yup, some of my best living has been at high-revved REMS. In fact in true baby-like bliss, there are no bills to pay, no aches or pains, no kids to worry about...I'm the Wizard of is good!

Webster defines sleep as "a natural suspension of consciousness" and when my consciousness is truly "suspended", any interruption bodes deep trauma. Because of this, I have excluded certain things from my life that used to wake me up, like being a volunteer fireman. Years ago, I joined the East Montpelier Fire Department as a volunteer out of a sense of duty; after all, I was a perfect fit...self employed, loved trucks and equipment, and had a farmer's level of common sense. The only problem was that fires often happen at night. The first couple of times it happened, I grumbled to myself but "sucked it up" and forced myself out of bed into the cold night. About the third time, however, I remember  screaming to Betsy..."These people and their cussed fires...why do they always have to have them at night!". About the time Betsy used the word "quit", I had it already covered. I turned in my badge the next day.

Then there were the days when we grew two acres of strawberries here at Morse Farm. Strawberries are excruciatingly labor intensive especially up here on this heavy, hilltop soil. Being a perennial crop, they demand constant weeding; weeds and witch grass take to heavy, hard-packed soil much like lampposts take to cement. I was always willing, however, to combat weeds and witch grass. My "kicker" with strawberries was the same old nocturnal neurosis that trumped my firefighting. When strawberries are in blossom, they require irrigation on frosty nights and oh, did I use to rant and rave when that happened!  We stopped raising strawberries years ago not because of weeds rooted like lampposts but because of the "tiger" in me when I get woke up at night!

These days as aging takes root, I've managed to exclude most everything that would stand in the way of a solid eight hours between the sheets except for one thing. With fuel oil up to four dollars a gallon, it's essential to burn wood for heat in our house. I like everything about the wood burning process except, you guessed it, night feeding. I don't care what wood stove salesmen tell you, wood stoves and furnaces are like babies...they all require night feeding. 'Long about 2:00 AM I'll rouse enough to function at the very minimum, make my way down our narrow cellar stairs and throw a few chunks of ash in that boiler's gaping maw.

Except for the furnace, I'm pretty well set for "clear sailing" at night but for a rare glitch like what happened recently; sleep had never been pillow was adjusted to the point of perfection and the comforter was drawn to chin level, just way I like it when I heard the dog's puking sounds at the door...Hkkk......Hkkk.....Hkkk.....Hkkk. In my defense, I basically knew what should be done, but something at the last minute made me rationalize..."but they're just little puking sounds". I rolled over to my other side, nudged the comforter up a bit, and returned to blissful sleep. That morning I woke up at 6:00 to the smell of cleaning products and grumbling..."rug's probably ruined" she hissed. I happen to believe that every long-term marriage allows for a couple of minor lies (never about alcohol or infidelity, mind you) and I used one of them that morning: "Dog puked, uhh, Hon?...gosh I'd have let her out if I'd  known."

I think Betsy somehow knew because things were just a bit "chilly" for a few days! Yup, it's always in daylight hours when those minor little skirmishes come up, bills have to be paid, and worries rear their angry heads. I'm selfish about my nights, though. Nights for me are when all is well and the world is at peace. There's no doubt that sleep is the best part of life.

Well folks, Christmas is just a week away and our packing elves are now catagorizing orders with destinations. In other words, packages going to the West Coast will be shipped by a quicker method. There's still plenty of time, however, for packages to reach places on the East Coast by regular old UPS. So...why not go to and look at the array of great Vermont products...Maple, Cheese, Wreaths, Gift Packs, Books...and get something on its way? It's easy. It's quick. It's good!

Thanks so much for your support throughout the whole year and...from all of us here at Morse Farm Maple Sugarworks, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!